AIR FORCE TWO SAM 682
73-1682 (SAM 682)
During 1975, the 89th MAW at Andrews AFB, Maryland received three VC-9C
(McDonnel-Douglas DC-9-32) aircraft, tail numbers 73-1681, 73-1682 and
73-1683. The VC-9C was redesignated the C-9C in 1977.
Originally, the C-9Cs were used to provide first-class transportation
to US, Central and South American airports for cabinet members, members
of Congress, high-ranking DOD personnel and the First Lady.
In early 1982, C-9C 73-1682 was modified by E-Systems
with a secure communications package in order to serve as an Air Force
Two platform. The secure communications package consisted of an Airborne
Communications Systems Operator crew position located several feet behind
the copilots seat and to the right of the forward lavatory, five
high frequency (HF) receivers, four HF transmitters, two telephone lines,
one KW-7 crypto device, one CMT-500 secure teletype terminal and a Secret
Service FM transceiver.
In 31682's stateroom. June 1985: Then Vice President
George H. W. Bush congratulates Chief Master Sergeant Ken Witkin,
the aircraft CSO, upon his final 89th MAW flight before his reassignment
to NATO AWACS, Geilenkirchen NATO AB, West Germany.
SAM 31682 normally carries one principal VIP plus staff and is divided
into three sections: forward (crew area), center (stateroom) and aft (staff
and passenger area). The forward section includes the cockpit, a 4-seat
security police area, a secure communications center, a galley and a lavatory.
The stateroom (center section) is configured with a couch plus two first-class
airline seats facing towards the rear and one forward-facing first-class
airline swivel seat for the principal VIP. The aft section serves as a
combination staff and passenger compartment and has an additional 39 first-class
airline seats and a latrine.
During 1995/1996, the other two C-9C aircraft were upgraded by E-Systems
with UHF SATCOM, INMARSAT, Verizon AirFone Service, telecommunications
computers and secure fax.
After 9/11, inflight TV and INMARSAT Swift 64 (64 Kbps ISDN) were added
to 31681 and 31683 by L-3Com (formerly E-Systems).
The C-9C has a range of 1,725 miles (2776 km) and currently, all three
C-9C aircraft are operated worldwide by 89th Airlift Wing (AW) aircrew
Provided by CMSgt Ken Witkin, USAF (Ret.), former C-9C Air Force Two
Airborne Communications Systems Operator
Recieved Regarding SAM 6970 and 6971
You have the history correct on the page that tells all about the 707's.
One piece of history that you haven't mentioned is that 6971 was known
as 'Freedom One" because it brought back the hostages from Iran.
As for 6970, the nickname given to the aircraft was "Queenie"
and I will email you a picture of the aircraft that used to hang in
cabin by the main entry door. Since 6970 was the only 137B model that
had a stateroom, we were always pulled into the presidential hanger
whenever 6000 or 7000 had to go to elsewhere for depot maintenance or
I have also included a blown up copy of my business card that I carried
when I was the Crew Chief. I have also attached some scans of the patches
in case you need them.
Provided by Matthew P. Caswell, SMSgt, USAF, Retired
Email recieved Regarding a Tech's Time on Air Force Two During the
I traveled many miles on Air Force Two between 1980 and 1983 as an Audio
tech in support of Vice President Bush. One remarkable flight had us
traveling from Washington DC to Anchorage, Alaska to Tokyo to Seoul
to Singapore, 4 places in Australia then on to New Zealand, Back to
Australia then on to China. Finally back to Hawaii, California then
DC. As a side note during the flight from Anchorage Alaska. to Tokyo
Japan I received word that my nephew Scott was born. The steward passed
the message to me on Air Force Two letterhead. The whole time Air Force
Two kept use safe and very comfortable. We were the first presidential
party into China since Nixon in the 70's. The picture of the little
girl in the simulator says it all, children are our future. I am now
a pilot and volunteer to fly kids with the young eagles program.
Thank you for the great site.
Harry Davis, Former WHCA A/V Technician for Air Force Two
58-6972 (SAM 972)
The VC-137B serial 58-6972 or same as SAM 86972 had the same body as
the 707-120 commercial aircraft but with different interior furnishings
and electronic equipment. Assigned to the 89th MAW at Andrews AFB, Maryland
its primary mission was to provide first class, worldwide transportation
for the Vice-President of the United States, Cabinet members and international
The interior of SAM 86972 was divided into three sections: Forward (crew
area), center (stateroom) and aft (passenger). The forward section had
a communications center, a galley, lavatory and 13-seat compartment
with one table and two overhead bunks. The center section was designed
for VIP, with conference tables, swivel chairs, projection screen, two
convertible sofa-bunks and a lavatory. The aft section was a combination
staff and passenger areas, and contained a Xerox machine, reclining
seats, overhead bunks, tables, galley two lavatories.
The VC-137B was usually operated by an augmented crew of about twenty,
including three pilots (two were qualified aircraft commanders), two
navigators, two flight engineers, one crew chief, two communication
systems operators, six flight attendants and four security guards.
VC-137C the most well known activity of the 89th MAW concerns were the
operation of the two presidential VC-137C aircraft. The VC-137C is a
modified version of the Boeing 707-320 commercial airliner. Its primary
mission was to provide safe and reliable transportation for the President
of the United States. Doing this required the use of two a primary and
The primary aircraft, serial number 72-7000 or same as SAM 27000, and
the backup SAM 26000, were delivered ten years apart. SAM 26000 arrived
in October 1962 as the first jet specifically designated as the presidential
aircraft. In December 1972, SAM 27000 arrived to provide expanded world
support. For the past ten years, SAM 26000 had been backed up by a B-model
VC-137 that could not keep pace with the President. SAM 27000 closed
the performance gap and took over as the President's primary aircraft.
The VC-137C carried a crew of 17, including two pilots, a navigator,
two flight engineers, two communications specialists, six flight attendants
and four security guards.
85-6973 (SAM 973)
The 89th Airlift Wing took another step toward the millennium Wednesday
as aircraft 85-6973 (SAM 973) officially ended its mission as a distinguished
visitor aircraft after nine years of service with the 89th Airlift Wing.
SAM 973, more affectionately known by its maintainers as "The H.A.W.K.,"
entered active service in Aug. 1985, when the Air Force acquired the
aircraft from the United States Customs Service. The aircraft was originally
built in March 1969 at the Boeing Company, in Seattle. It was constructed
as a Boeing 707-396C, serial number 20043. The aircraft was built with
a large cargo door on the left side of the fuselage and began service
as a cargo/passenger transport.
In Dec. 1978, an Austrian leasing company operated the aircraft with
the name "Montana Austria" on the fuselage. In May 1981, the
U.S. government was legally awarded the aircraft after the US Justice
Department in Texas confiscated it for running arms to South Africa.
The government stored the aircraft at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. In Aug.
1985, the Air Force purchased the plane for $22,500, which at that time
was the price of fuel needed to fly the plane out of the desert. This
was no easy task. The plane was in disrepair. It had very little instrumentation
and no operational navigation equipment. An 89th Military Airlift Wing
crew then flew the aircraft to Greenville, Texas using only freeways
and roads as their navigation system.
While in Greenville, the aircraft received the many modifications needed
for converting it to a Special Air Mission aircraft. These included
a stateroom with lavatory, conference area, staff compartment and passenger
seating. The aircraft was also fitted with a Mission Communications
System similar to the one installed on Air Force One.
On May 5,1990, after the modifications were completed, SAM 973 was flown
to Andrews, where it began operation as a DV transport.
Upon arrival at Andrews the aircraft began operating as Air Force One
backup and primary Air Force Two. When not supporting its primary roles,
the aircraft flew in support of the 89th's mission of transporting our
nation's leaders and other world heads of state around the globe. During
Nov.-Dec. 1990, SAM 973 transported Secretary of State James Baker across
Europe in order to form the Coalition Forces in support of Operation
DESERT STORM. In October 1994, the aircraft transported the Secretary
of State and Prime Minister Aristide to Port Au Prince, Haiti. In addition
to transporting various vice presidents, SAM 973's list of distinguished
passengers included First Lady Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore, and Secretaries
of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeline Albright, and Secretary
of Defense William Perry. The aircraft also carried various high ranking
members of congress and military officials. The last high visibility
mission flown was in Feb. 1999 when the aircraft was diverted from transporting
Hillary Clinton on a European visit to attend the funeral of Jordan's
While assigned to Andrews, SAM 973 accumulated a total of 48,089 flying
hours, and 20,806 takeoff and landing cycles.
Wednesday, SAM 973 was transferred on to the 552nd Air Wing, Tinker
Air Force Base, Okla., where it will continue operation as an E-3 pilot
trainer. In Feb. 2000, the aircraft is scheduled to transfer from Tinker
to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where it will undergo further modification
to perform duties as a J-Stars aircraft.
SAM 973 will always occupy a key role in the history of the 89th Airlift
Wing. Thanks to the crews who flew the aircraft and the quality maintenance
it received while at Andrews, 973 will help carry the Air Force into
the next millennium.
Provided by Tech. Sgt. John White, 89th Logistic Support Squadron
85-6974 (SAM 974)
In addition to the two Presidential VC-137Cs, on 24 March 1988, the
89th MAW cheered the arrival of its newest aircraft a C-137C tail number
85-6974 or same as SAM 56974. The aircraft was similar to the two Presidential
VC-137C aircraft currently in the fleet. However, the retrofitted aircraft
was to be used for special air missions for the Vice-President, members
of the Cabinet, Congressional leader and other senior United States
and foreign dignitaries.
SAM 56974 was also a modified version of the Boeing 707-320 commercial
airliner, and was specially equipped for the 89th mission. For example,
974 had a new technologically advanced communication suite. This communications
system was a prototype for the two new VC-25A Boeing 747 "Air Force
One" aircraft scheduled for delivery in late 1988 and early 1989.
The Communications system provided passengers with global communications
capabilities, whether airborne or on the ground.
As fate had made it, both of these Vice-President's finial flights were
to the Boeing Military Modification Center in Wichita, Kansas. SAM 86972
was scraped in 1998 and SAM 56974 most recently in June of 2004. Cockpit
parts from of these aircraft were rescued by us and will able to serve
again as key to the completion of the Air Force One 707 Simulator Project.
SAM 56974 after a fine service to our country
and stripped of all her glory
On the demolishion day of 85-6974 Dick Cheney's
Air Force Two it's pedecessor appeared as if to witness the demise
Taking it apart the dirty way
Stripped out communictions station
Center looking aft